U.S. stocks were back in the green Friday after positive news on the vaccine front and better-than-expected retail sales.
As the new school year began, retail sales rose 1.9% in September, ahead of the 0.6% forecast by economists polled by the Dow Jones. That marked the fifth consecutive month of rising retail sales.
The biggest driver for retail sales was the clothing and accessories segment, which surged 11%.
Finally Some Positive Vaccine News After a Tough Week
On the vaccine front, Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) said today that it could seek emergency-use authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine candidate by late November, assuming it's proved to be effective in the late-stage trial. The company is developing a vaccine jointly with BioNTech SE (Nasdaq: BNTX).
The news came after Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) was forced to put the trials of its Covid-19 vaccine on hold because of an “unexplained illness” in one of its participants earlier this week. Also, a Covid-19 antibody trial conducted by Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY) was paused over a potential safety concern.
Another runner, AstraZeneca (Nasdaq: AZN) has had its 30,000 participant trial on hold since September after a patient developed a serious neurological condition that could have been caused by the vaccine.
In early trading Friday, Pfizer’s stock traded 1% higher, at $37.07 per share.
The benchmarks responded well to the news. In early trading, the Dow Jones rose 142 points, the S&P 500 added 10 points, and the Nasdaq Composite gained 44 points.
However, with the surge of layoffs in the travel and entertainment industry, the continuing sales growth this month is uncertain.